Your Art vs. Your Ego

In: Mindset

This week I settled back into the saddle with five new interviews for Creative Elements.


So I spent a lot of time researching my guests by watching YouTube videos, listening to podcasts, reading articles...

And one of those guests is Thomas Frank, YouTuber and Notion extraordinaire.

Thomas Frank

Thomas has 2.5 million subscribers on his main channel and almost 70K subscribers on his new channel focused exclusively on Notion. To prepare for my interview with Thomas, I listened to his recent conversation with Lewis Howes on the School of Greatness podcast.

Thomas Frank with Lewis Howes

This was a fascinating conversation actually, mostly for the last 15 minutes. In the last 15 minutes, they dig into some of Thomas's business finances and where he's investing (potentially under-investing) in growth.

He talks a little bit more in the episode about hiring and how he wished he would've hired sooner (that may have been me reading between the lines). But Thomas said that he has trouble letting go of things and delegating in his business (very relatable for me).

But he had this fantastic reframe that was passed onto him:

What is your art and what is your ego?

When you're thinking about all of the work on your plate, there are certainly things you are doing that you could outsource for someone else to do.

And that may FEEL hard because you've always done it. And it feels like there's no way someone else would do it as well as you do, right?

In some cases, that may be true. As a creator, there are certain aspects of your business that contain the most potent part of your creativity – that stuff is what makes YOUR work YOUR work.

That's your art. You can't let go of your art.

But more often than not, you may find yourself holding onto things that aren't your art. Things that don't need YOU to be doing them to be good enough.

In fact, a lot of times you can hire someone who is BETTER at those things than you are!

And that is your ego getting in the way. That's the overinflated, arrogant-but-scared part of you that thinks you can't possibly count on someone else to do it.

But the more you let your ego take time away from your art...the slower you grow. It's just math – the more time you allocate to the few parts of your business that uniquely need you, the faster you build a resilient, differentiated business. If you're taking away from your art because you refuse to hire an editor or a bookkeeper, you're slowing down your own progress.

This came for me at a time when I needed to hear it – and in reflecting on the number of people I'm working with now, I'm actually proud of myself! Right now I'm working with:

  • An audio engineer
  • A video editor
  • A transcriptionist
  • An animator
  • An illustrator
  • A Notion consultant
  • A quiz architect

...and I still feel like I need more hands!

Thankfully, it's also getting easier to hire because as I spend more time on MY art (interviewing, writing, and building community) the better my business performs. The better my business performs, the more resources I have to invest in hiring things away from my ego.

It's kind of a chicken-and-egg problem, I know. We are afraid to hire until we have the money to hire. But we can't focus on the parts of our business that make money because we're trapped doing things to keep the business running day-to-day.

Whether you grind through it or trust yourself to outsource before it feels comfortable, I'm really coming to believe that delegating is a skill I should've learned much sooner.

What is YOUR ego keeping hold of and taking away from your art?

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Written by
Jay Clouse
I'm the founder of Creator Science. Through its newsletter, podcast, membership, and YouTube channel, Creator Science helps you become a smarter creator.
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